Festival - Diwali: Must See India
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Diwali

(Diwali is also known as Deepavali)
by Kapil Upload a photo
Diwali, also known as the festival of lights, is usually celebrated between mid-October and mid-December. Diwali is probably one of the most important festivals for the Hindus and it holds distinct significance for different communities. Diwali or Deepavali literally means ‘row of lamps’. Small clay lamps or ‘Diyas’ filled with oil are lit to denote victory of good over evil. Diwali falls on a new moon night, and it is celebrated for 5 days.

The festival of Diwali begins with Dhanteras when most business communities start their financial year. Naraka Chaturdasi is the second day of the festival signifying vanquishing of the demon king Naraka by Krishna and wife Sathyabhama. The third day of Diwali denotes worship of Goddess Lakshmi and falls on Amavasya. It is also said that Lord Vishnu annihilated Bali in his dwarf incarnation and sent him to Patala. On the fourth day or on Kartika Shudda Padyami, Bali reached Patala and began reining over his new kingdom. Yama Dvitiya on the fifth day observes sisters inviting brothers home to express their love and affection.

There are many religious myths that are associated with Diwali: return of Rama after an exile of 14 years, emergence of Lakshmi from Kshira Sagar, slaying of Narakasura, and Krishna’s victory over Indra. People all over India and across communities celebrate Diwali in its entire splendor. Diwali is supposed to reckon prosperity, health and wealth into every household and business establishment.

Traditions


Diwali celebrations vary according to the community and Indian state. Festivities in Gujarat begin earlier than it does in rest of India. People in Tamil Nadu begin the day by taking sesame oil bath early in the morning, lighting lamps, bursting fireworks, adorning new clothes and sharing sweets. Visit to the temple is considered important and the entire house in cleaned and new clothes purchased. Naraka Chaturdashi denotes the significance of Diwali in Karnataka. It is a 3-day festival that begins with fire crackers followed by Lakshmi Puja and finally decoration of house and entrance with flowers.

People of Maharashtra begin with festivities by making important purchases, especially precious metals and kitchenware. A special bath is done on the second day, Lakshmi Puja happens on the third day, Hindu financial year commences on the fourth day, and finally brother and sister bonding and affection is embodied on the fifth day. Similarly other Indian states engage in festivities in their own special way.

Tourist Essential


Although Diwali is celebrated in pomp and splendor in other countries such as Sri Lanka, Myanmar, certain South East Asian and African countries and UK, Canada and US; tourists from all over the world flock to India during the period of Diwali to celebrate and realize the true essence of the festival.

Homes are cleaned and rituals are performed to invite Goddess Lakshmi, and fire crackers are burst to drive evil spirits away during the festival of Diwali. Celebrations involve wearing new clothes, and snacks and sweets are shared with friends and family.

Photos

by Kapil
 

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